Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Questions our Guests normally Ask ?

Why should i use Hotana Safaris to book my safari

Hotana Safaris takes the entire headache out of planning a holiday/safari and handles virtually all aspects of your travel, at absolutely no cost to you. The combined experience of the team and the feedback from thousands of our travelers provides an invaluable resource to the traveller planning an important holiday/safari.

Can you work within a certain budget?

Yes, we work within any and all realistic budgets, and an honest sharing of ideas and goals help us immensely when making recommendations and suggested edits to travel plans.

Can i also buy an air ticket through Hotana safaris?

Yes, you can. Our services are comprehensive. We do both international and domestic ticketing.

Why do i have to pay for Air tickets?

Air tickets typically need to be purchased within 30 days of making a reservation.

What airlines fly to Uganda?

Some of them include, Fly Dubai, KLM Royal Dutch, Emirates, Qatar airways, Ethiopian Airways fly into Uganda several times a week.

How will I be picked at the airport?

You will be picked up by our company representative at the arrival hall of the particular International Airport. Hotana Safaris representative would be holding a welcome board with your name on it. If you are part of a group, the name of the group will be mentioned on the welcome board.

Can i book the hotel alone and not the tour itself?

Yes, Hotana Safaris has special rates with many hotels all over. We are sure that we will be able to offer you the hotels for your budget in the destination wanted by you, do inform us what kind of hotel you are looking for.

How do i plan an African safari?

Planning an African Safari is not as difficult as you think. It can be intimidating at first, but it does not have to be. You can contact Hotana Safaris team at any time with your questions, and we will be glad to help you out!

Is there anything to remember while visiting the temples & Mosques in Uganda?

Do remember to remove your shoes and sandals while visiting a place of worship like mosques and some temples. Also, keep in mind to wear descent clothes.

Can i arrive days before the safari or add more nights to my safari?

Yes, our safari team can help you book extra accommodation and transfers a few days before your safari/holiday starts or after your safari. If you would like to arrange your extra nights or extra/ private airport-hotel transfers, kindly contact us.

Do you offer family holidays or family adventures?

Yes, we offer well-designed packages for family groups, including those travelling with children of any age. For most of family trips, please consider children as those between the age of 2 and 11 years.

Can i make my own itinerary?

Absolutely. Just contact us to start the process. We will listen to your needs and give expert recommendations based on your interests, timeline and budget. Leave the details to us!

Will I get a chance to interact with the local people ?

Many of our trips provide opportunities to visit local villages and interact with the people. However, if your itinerary does not include these visits, you will still gain valuable local insight from your expert guide, a native of Uganda.

How far in advance should i book my trip ?

We recommend booking as far in advance as possible to ensure availability. This is especially important for travelers booking private safaris or adding extensions to their trips.

What additional costs can i expect while travelling on my safari?

Your safari land packages will include all accommodations, meals, water (with meals and on wildlife-viewing drives), airport transfers, park fees and services of guides and drivers. International airfare is not included. Additional costs may include: tips for your guides, drivers and staff, bar beverages, laundry service, phone calls, passport and visa fees, souvenirs and travel insurance (if you choose to purchase it).

What safari vehicles do you use for your safaris ?

Our standard safari vehicle is a custom designed minivan with pop up top for ease of photography during game viewing drives and sightseeing. The vehicle sits a maximum of six persons for guarantee window seats and access to the pop up top. We also use the pop up top 4×4 land cruiser jeep on safari. This is an upgrade on request and comes at an extra cost due to its comfort and reliability. Both safari vehicle types are fitted with long-range radios for easy communication, cooler boxes, and first aid kits. Both safari minivan and 4×4 jeep are sufficiently adequate for safari tour. The 4×4 jeep has several advantages over the safari minivan; this includes a higher elevation, better navigation on rough terrain, deeper reach, is more comfortable and brings out better the adventure essence.

What is a single room supplement?

A single room supplement is an extra fee imposed on single occupancy of a double room by hotels, safari lodges and camps. Our safari tour prices are based on two persons sharing in a double room /tent. If someone chooses to take single occupancy of room, single room supplement applies.

What is the difference between budget, mid-range and luxury lodging ?

Economy, standard and luxury accommodation options for lodges and tented camps are sufficiently comfortable and adequate. However, standard of facilities and location of properties do vary.

Luxury Lodges and Tented Camps. In almost all instances, luxury accommodations are located at vantage locations within the national parks and game reserves. They are unique in architecture and design. They also provide easy access to the game viewing areas. The facilities and comfort levels are of higher standard. Rooms, tents are private and en suite. More often than not, there is a swimming pool within the facility.

Mid-range Lodges and Tented Camps. A category lower than for luxury accommodation level. Their rooms and tents are also private and en suite. Most standard accommodation shall have a swimming pool.

Economy/Budget Lodges and Tented Camps. Almost all economy lodges and tented camps (except a few) are located outside the park or on the park boundaries. They are relatively basic but sufficiently adequate and comfortable. Room and tents are private and have en-suite bathroom facilities. Most of them may have a swimming pool.

What complimentary services does Hotana safaris give to its clients?

Uganda is world famous for its friendly and hospitable people. We extend this hospitality to our safari participants by providing complimentary meet and greet services. Other services include general destination assistance services and mineral water in all our vehicles.

Are children allowed on safari in Uganda ?

Most of the safari lodges and camps in Uganda have a minimum age limit of 12 years of age. There is however, a number of great lodges and camps that allow children under the age of 12. Please contact our Hotana Safaris office for more information.

Is it safe to visit Uganda ?

At Hotana Safaris, our number one concern is your safety. If we felt that travelling to Uganda was unsafe, we would not arrange tours to Uganda. In general, petty theft is common in Uganda’s major cities and towns. Visitors should take the same care as they would normally take in any other destination worldwide. Keep a close watch on handbags, wallets, and cameras when walking in crowded places. Avoid walking at night and place valuables in safe deposit boxes at hotels. While at safari lodges and tented camps, you are typically far from human settlement and crime is virtually non-existent. We still advise that valuables should be locked away in a safe or kept under the supervision of the camp or lodge manager while on safari.

Aren't wild animals dangerous ?

While viewing wildlife there is a degree of danger as the behaviour of wild animals cannot be guaranteed. However, most animals are frightened by the sight/smell of humans and rather than attack will flee (unless cornered or provoked). Attacks on humans are rare. While on safari in Uganda, you will be accompanied by licensed guides who are well trained and armed with an amazing understanding of the wildlife with which they share their lives on a daily basis. In addition, many guides carry firearms for your safety in Uganda. At your tented camp or lodge, it is not common for wildlife to wander through as camps and lodges are typically not fenced. Never venture outside your accommodation at night without your guide. Always consult with your Hotana Safaris guide/s when in doubt.

What medicines or shots/Vaccines do i need before i travel to Uganda ?

You are required to have a valid Yellow Fever Immunization Card which means you must be immunized and that you should do so 10 to 30 days prior to your arrival to Uganda. It will also help you enter other East African countries. A yellow fever immunization is good for a lifetime. Should you not have one, you will be required to have a Yellow Fever shot at the airport or another point of entry. The vast majority of travellers to Uganda return from their safaris happy and healthy! Anti-malaria tablets are also essential and many doctors advice a dose of Hepatitis A vaccine. All childhood vaccinations should be up to date. We recommend that you visit a local travel health specialist in your hometown for further details.

What foods should be avoided in Uganda? What about drinking water?

In the vast majority of cases, it is safe to eat ALL of the food(s) offered by lodges and camps as they take great care to ensure that food is prepared in a healthy manner. If you are worried about contracting a “stomach bug” do not eat salads, avoid ice cubes in drinks (many places use purified water for ice cubes – simply ask if you are concerned), and eat only fruits that have thick skins which are peeled (oranges, bananas). It is wise to drink only bottled drinks which are readily available (ask that water is opened in front of you as they may try to reuse the container at some of the larger, lower quality hotels). In addition, do not swallow water during a shower and use purified water for brushing teeth. Do not worry – bottled water is readily available.

Can we have clothes washed while on the safari?

The majority of safari lodges and camps we use in Uganda offer complimentary laundry service (some charge a small fee) weather permitting, however, please note that undergarments are always excluded. You may wish to bring a small supply of liquid laundry soap (a small plastic travel bottle filled with Woolite works well for hand washing).

How much money should I bring to Uganda? Are credit cards accepted?

You will need very little spending money on most safaris or trips, meals and activities are included in your package cost. Credit cards may also be used in large towns at restaurants and shops with MasterCard and Visa being most accepted. However, use may be restricted in small towns and country areas and non-existent in small retail shops. Please note that American Express is not commonly accepted in Uganda. Please note that in Uganda hotels, lodges, camps, restaurants and shops often charge a small fee for the use of a credit card. Automatic teller machines (ATM’s) are situated outside most banks in towns and cities in Uganda and international credit cards often can be used to withdraw currency. However, as Africa is unpredictable, please do not rely on ATM machines for your currency needs.

Should we purchase local currency?

Most travellers do not need to change money into a local currency like US dollars; British pound sterling and credit cards are widely accepted. Small bills (US $1, US $5, US $10, and US $20) are best.

Can I get vegetarian diet on my safari?

Yes, all our lodges allow for different diet choices and you can request for vegetarian or vegan food. If you require a specific food choice, please alert our safari team.

Can I get WIFI access while on the safari?

Yes, most safari destinations have Wi-Fi in the lodges or public sites within some popular parks. Some locations may not have Wi-Fi depending on whether grid-based electricity is available on site. If you require Wi-Fi on a specific location or day: maybe for a video call or to send an urgent email, please alert our safari team for assistance.

Can I get travel insurance while travelling to Uganda?

All clients are required to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance plan upon booking. This should cover you for events that may occur before, or during travel, such as tour operator bankruptcy / financial default, trip cancellation, trip delay or interruption, terrorism, lost stolen or delayed baggage, emergency accident (before or during travel), sickness and evacuation of at least US $200,000 per person, 24 hour medical assistance, traveler’s assistance, and emergency cash transfer.

What is the weather like in Uganda?

In general, Uganda experiences dry weather during the months of January to February and June through October. There are two rainy seasons – the long rains, which fall mid-March through May and the short rains which arrive in mid-October and continue until mid-December. Temperatures are moderate throughout the year with average daytime temperatures around 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Evenings and mornings are often chilly, with cold night times.

What is the best time to travel to Uganda to view wildlife?

The best wildlife viewing is during the dry season periods. Wildlife viewing in part is, predicated on the amount of surface water available. During the rains, wildlife is scattered, as there is abundant surface water (puddles, perennial rivers) to drink from. Once the rain(s) end, wildlife congregates around remaining surface water supplies (pools, lakes, and large rivers).

What are the Uganda travel entry requirements?

All safari guests must carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. The East African governments require visitors to purchase visas. It is advisable you purchase your visa in advance but you can purchase one on arrival at entry points. Check with your consulate for the latest visa and entry requirements. You are required to purchase a tourist visa before you enter Uganda. Tourist visas can be bought in advance via the consulate in your country or can be purchased upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport or at any overland border. Photos are not required and a single entry tourist visa costs US$ 100 per person for up to 90 days stay in Uganda. If you are planning to combine Uganda with a visit to Rwanda or Kenya, it is recommendable to request for the East African Tourist Visa instead of a single entry visa. This special visa costs US$100 per person and allows 90-days multiple entry to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Regretfully, Tanzania is not (yet) a member of the East African community and therefore not part of this special visa arrangement.

How much should we tip? Who do we tip? How do we tip?

Tips on safaris are a local custom in East Africa; but tips are not mandatory and nobody should solicit guests for tips on any of our safaris. If you would like to offer a tip to any person who offered great service during your tour, here are our guidelines: - (Bar tips can be 1US Dollar at the bar after your drinks session. Waiters and luggage porters can be tipped 1-5US Dollars per meal sitting or per luggage porterage. Safari driver-guides can be tipped 5-10US Dollars per guest per day. Smaller groups of 2 to 3 pax per vehicle may consider the higher tip range; while bigger groups of 4 to 6 pax per vehicle may tip on the lower range. This accounts for the extra-dedicated service given to smaller groups). Please note that this is just a rough guide; but the specific tip amounts can vary depending on how you evaluated the service provided or other local factors. You will be the final decision-maker on the tipping amounts and please feel comfortable because any tip amount will always be greatly appreciated with a warm heart and an African smile. All tips can be paid in any currency; Dollars, Euros, Pounds, or local Shillings.

Who are the safari guides and do they matter?

A safari guide is your host in the African bush. They have spent years studying everything there is to know about the wildlife, plants, safety, and scenery. They are experts in their field and can make or break your safari experience. They will track the animals, answer your questions, explain what you are seeing and experiencing, and ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

When is the best time to track gorillas?

Gorilla trekking is a whole year round activity but the best time to trek gorillas is during the two dry seasons, December to February and June to September. Mountain gorillas live on a high altitude in the mountains, which requires you to hike up in order to reach them, and these places can be slippery and hard to reach during rainy seasons.

When can I book my gorilla permit?

Any visitor planning for a gorilla trip needs to book the permit in advance that is about 3-5 months before the trekking date. Gorilla permits are highly competitive given that most people are interested in seeing these endangered primates so booking in advance helps you avoid last minute rush or even missing out. Gorilla permits are served on first come first serve basis depending on the sector you choose to trek. The permits can be booked up to two years in advance.

What is the age limit for tracking gorillas?

The minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. A few exceptions are available in Uganda where a child below 15 years can be allowed to trek gorillas. The age limit is 15 because children below that age may find it hard to positively deal with gorilla reactions like staying calm if gorillas charge and following the guidelines from park guides. Children below 15 years may not be physically and emotionally prepared to do gorilla trekking. These children are easily infected with diseases, which may be passed on to gorillas.

How much time can I spend in the presence of the mountain gorillas?

A Mountain Gorilla viewing permit allows you to spend one hour with a habituated group of Mountain Gorillas. Sometimes your guide may allow you a few more minutes, especially if you have had a long trek to reach them and the tourist group is not disturbing to the gorillas. However, that one hour is always worth because the experience is incomparable.